Thundersprint 2009 Preview

Thundersprint 2009 PreviewIf you have any interest in motorcycles there is only one place to be over the weekend of May 9/10 – and that’s Northwich, Cheshire, for the 13th. annual Thundersprint!

Every year the Thundersprint gets bigger and better and for 2009 it’s going to be a spectacular! Whether it’s the chance to see twice World Champion, and MotoGP superstar James Toseland in action on the track or “Coronation Street’s” Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) cruising around in the Motorcycling Personalities class, there is something for everyone.

The weekend kicks off at mid-day on Friday 8 May when Witton Albion Football Club opens for camping. This fabulous new venue for the Thundersprint camping offers excellent facilities and campers can stay on site until Monday morning. Full details are available from or 01606 43008 or 07531 289571.

Friday night sees Northwich Memorial Hall hosting the Purple Cactus Comedy Club with a comedy special. Tickets are £11 and are available from 01606 814640.

This year, the Thundersprint Bike Show is being held in the centre of Northwich next to the Memorial Hall theatre. It’s a lovely venue, right alongside the River Dane and a two minute walk from the main shopping area.

There will be over 100 classic and modern bikes on display, a trade area, hog roast and safety tips from Cheshire Police’s Bike Safe and Arai helmets – plus appearances from celebrity guests.

Ducati Manchester and Knutsford Honda will be running test rides all day and there is a massive trade area.

Admission to the show, and parking in Cheshire West and Chester Council controlled car parks, is completely free of charge and the Memorial Hall will serve good food, at very reasonable prices, all day.

As the Bike Show closes, expect to hear the Memorial Hall start rocking with James Toseland and “Crash” tuning up for their gig. Multi talented Toseland is not only Britain’s fastest bike racer but is also the best keyboard player in racing. “Crash” start playing at 8pm and the party goes on until late.

Admission is £15.00 and tickets are available from 01606 814640.

Sunday 10 May sees the Thundersprint itself taking place right in the centre of Northwich. There is no charge for admission, parking in Cheshire West and Chester Council controlled car parks or the excellent grandstand seating. However, the certainty of a huge crowd means you need to get to Northwich early if you want to park near to the show’s centre.

Scrutineering opens promptly at 6am and everything has open access with absolutely no restricted, or VIP, areas except for the track itself. If you want to mix with the stars at technical control, this is the time and place to do it.

Joining James Toseland in the track action you can expect to see Sammy Miller, with his fabulous RC181 Honda “4”, six times World Champion Jim Redman, David Hailwood with a replica of his Dad’s factory Honda, HM Plant Honda works riders Steve Plater and Glen Richards and many other modern celebrities.

Backing up the stars is a fantastic entry of British and European riders campaigning some stunning classics – plus a fair sprinkling of modern Superbikes. Top Europeans include Joerg Trautvetter from Germany, French ace Alain Marie and Italy’s Sergio Arancio

Practice starts promptly at 08.40 and finishes around 11.30. Immediately afterwards, 200 race and road machines gather for the incredible Thundersprint Cavalcade. The cavalcade is one of the great spectacles in motorcycling and takes in three, two and a half mile laps of Northwich on public roads. Leaving precisely at 12.00, it’s an unmissable experience to see a pack of screaming classic race bikes cruise past the Memorial Hall and return via the Bull Ring and Northwich Police station.

The Thundersprint has a huge trade area with most of the major manufacturers exhibiting, plus a myriad of clothing and accessory stalls all offering Thundersprint bargains.

Away from the track, there is the Thundersprint fine food centre, wine tasting, street entertainment and the absolutely sensational Leyland Morris Men – and you don’t often see them at a MotoGP!

Children are well catered for with a play area for the younger Thundersprinters plus a big fair, complete with adrenaline rides, for older fans.

Super commentator, Garry Gardiner, will be interviewing the stars throughout the lunch break then at 1.20, the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire will roar over Northwich in a unique display. There won’t be a dry eye in the arena!

Racing starts at 1.40 with the Masterclass starring Jim Redman, Sammy Miller and Dave Hailwood. Immediately following the motorcycling icons are the Motorcycling Personalities featuring James Toseland, HM Plant Honda’s Steve Plater and Glen Richards, Coronation Street’s Jimmi Harkishin and a host of journalists all battling it out on the tight, twisty town centre sprint circuit. Can the scribes ride as well as they write? The heartless timing clock will reveal all!

After the Masterclass, the stars will be on the eBike stand, in the Premier Trade area, to sign autographs and meet fans. And remember, except for the track itself every part of the Thundersprint, including the paddock, has completely open access so make sure you make the best of this unique opportunity.

There are a further ten classes which will take racing through until around 5.00 without a break. At 5.30 there is prize giving which again is open to everyone.

Even for spectators it is going to be a flat out weekend but for sure, there is nowhere in the world offering more for anyone with an interest in bikes. And with free admission, free parking and free grandstands the Thundersprint is the bargain of the year.